Back to the craft page

Hand painted silk

Vladimir province was one of the territories adjacent to Moscow, where silk manufactories appeared in the first half of the 19th century, as well as artels, which specialized in the decoration of silk fabrics and finished products. The needs of the Royal court for highly artistic and expensive silk products had become the stimulus for the development of those crafts and industries. As a rule, silk production on Vladimir land was mastered by former workers of Moscow factories.

In Kirzhach and Pokrov districts of the Vladimir province there was a unique craft of hand-made silk and velvet weaving, which had no analogues in other regions of Russia. Silk-cloth painting was distributed in the villages of Tonkovo, Vasilyevskoye, Litvinovo, Dubki, Vaulovo, which were later included  into the city area of Kolchugino and Kolchugino district.

The dynasty of merchants-entrepreneurs Solovyovs played a leading role in the construction of silk-weaving and dyeing factories in the Kirzhach district. In the late 1920s, the Kirzhach silk factory was founded. In the Soviet times, natural silk fabrics produced by the factory were in great demand not only domestically but also abroad. The Kirzhach silk factory was the main supplier of raw materials for fabric painting factories in the neighboring Kolchugino district. The industrial enterprise "Zenit", which was opened in 1993 in Kolchugino, specialized on the production of natural silk scarves and used those fabrics for its needs.

Nowadays, the traditions and secrets of silk fabrics paintings and the production of silk wares on Vladimir land are being restored thanks to the activity of private workshops. The creative workshop "Silk Collection" (creator and manager O.A. Shevtsova) has been successfully working in Kolchugino for almost twenty years.  It produces designer clothes, scarves, accessories, and interior items made of silk, cotton, and wool painted in technique “cold batik”.  All products are exclusive – hand-painted and produced in a single copy. Gradually, the workshop "Silk Collection" has developed its own style, with recognizable manner of painting and  unique approach to drawing selection and coloristic decisions.    

The works of the workshop artists are always bright and fresh. Ornaments are worked out in several directions. The main ornamental motif is traditional for the Kolchugino district and the Vladimir region. Besides, masters combine architectural motifs with floral ornament. A distinctive feature of the artists’ manner is so - called free painting without outlines, which demonstrates lightness and tenderness of the drawing and high artistic level of masters’ work.

The workshop has developed an entire collection of silk products – "Vladimir Cherry", "Murom Saints Peter and Fevronia", "Vladimir Rus". Some works are  dedicated to the creativity of Vladimir countrymen, such as the avant-garde artist of the early 20th century Olga Rozanova (one of the founders of the Vladimir school of painting) and a talented master Kim Britov. The author’s products of "Silk Collection" were winners of many regional and all-Russian competitions and awarded diplomas of all-Russian, inter-regional and regional exhibitions.

Workshop masters keep old traditions going. They teach children technology and painting techniques. They hold classes and masterclasses at kindergartens and schools and organize tours to the factory.

The production of hand-painted wares of the workshop "Silk Collection" got the status of folk art craft.

Author: V. Korolkova